Podcast, Episode 78: McMillen’s Ann and Elizabeth Pyne

This week, we have the great design duo Ann and Elizabeth Pyne from McMillen, the oldest interior design firm in the country. They share why we should be fearless in design, the idea behind each room having a thesis, and a glimpse into what it is like to work as a mother-daughter dynamic. They also tell us about the three most important things to think about design wise when purchasing or renting a place, and rules for decorating with an infant.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why we should be fearless and courageous in our career paths.
  • An example of what they mean by each room having a thesis. 
  • The differences in Ann and Elizabeth’s design style, and how they complement each other’s range of style to create a fantastic finished product.
  • You have to deal with the space first, and the client second.
  • What elements are classic and won’t go out of style, and what Ann and Elizabeth have seen stand the test of time.
  • Their own individual spaces, and Ann’s description of her 8 totally separate rooms.
  • McMillen’s reign of over 90 years as a trusted and established interior design firm.
  • Why we shouldn’t be intimidated by auctions, and how to navigate them in a confident manner.
  • The give and take Ann and Elizabeth have with their clients and artwork, and how they plan for new and fresh art ideas in a space.
  • The three most important qualities of any place to live: light, proportions and layout.
  • You do not have to have expensive things to make your place beautiful, and the Stark rug that changed it all for Ann.
  • Why we shouldn’t discount the unifying power of a beautiful rug, and some powerful “rug rules” in design.
  • Decorating with an infant – it can be done!
  • The classic approaches to design, and why we should invest in pieces that stand the test of time.
  • How to keep up with the evolution of lighting.

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hello ladies,

I found your podcast late, but I binged and caught up quickly. I love interior design and Ballard is my go-to store!

We recently moved into a much larger home which came with a much larger master bedroom. Our bedroom has always been on the back burner, but we are finally working on it. I recently ordered a gorgeous fabric which was made into a larger headboard with matching bed skirt. The bay window will also soon have a built in window seat with the same fabric we used in our master bath (photo attached). My question is 2 parts. First, what do I do to help fill up the space? I’m on the hunt for bigger night stands/bachelor chests. Any ideas? Also, I just got back from the Southern Living show house in Austin and noticed all the painted trim and ceilings. My second question is, what should I do with this big tray ceiling? I don’t want it to date the house, but I feel like it would be nice to paint part of it (or all of it) the celadon blue color I’ve used (master bath is BM sea salt). Do I paint trim too? Thoughts on a chandelier? Obviously want to get rid of the fan. Y’all are the best and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance,

We think a ceramic garden stool or two in front of the window seat would be great. A chandelier might also look pretty, and if you pull the curtains out to the outer walls and take out the crown molding to be replaced with a valance, it may be great fun and a pop of color. No matter what, make sure your curtain draws, as we all agree there is nothing worse than a fake curtain!

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.